Neighbourhood groceries in Doha are charging up to three times more for vegetables and fruits than the wholesale price at the Central Market, Gulf Times has found.
Indian onion, available at QR1/kg at the wholesale market was being sold for an average of QR3/kilo by the grocery shops.
A random price check showed difference in almost all the other varieties of onion. A sack weighing 8kg of the staple vegetable from Saudi Arabia was going for QR4, while the same at some grocery shops was available for QR12.
Located just off the Salwa Road at the Thursday and Friday Souq Intersection, the wholesale market of fruits and vegetables comes alive everyday at dawn when trucks bringing fresh supplies from all over the Middle East via the Saudi border, unload their cargo.
The price for tomato at the market was QR1/kg while it is sold at twice or thrice the price at the grocery shops. A 10kg box of potato (Saudi) could be purchased for QR16 or QR1.6/kg, while some grocers were found to be charging as high as QR7/kg. Aubergine was QR10/6kg (wholesale) and QR 5/kg (retail) and lemon was QR60/12kg and QR8/kg at the wholesale market and local shops respectively.
According to Hussain, a Bangladeshi businessman at the wholesale market, business has been good of late as a lot of restaurants and cafes are opening in Qatar.
Hussain buys directly from the owners who bring in fresh supplies into the country everyday as opposed to a previous practice where middlemen or agents at the market would take charge of supplies and then auction them off to the wholesale buyers.
The Qatari Ministry of Economy and Commerce last year ensured that there are no middlemen involved anymore.
In fruits, a box of apple (Chile) carrying 88 pieces was sold at QR90 at the market, while the same variety was going for QR8/kg at the local shops. Grapes (Saudi) were QR5/2kg, one crate of apricot (Saudi) was QR5, one box of peach (Turkey) was QR13, (Saudi) QR12 and (Lebanon) QR10 at the market.
The prices for the above doubled or tripled at the grocery shops which did brisk business.
“The difference in price is the only profit we make,” said a grocer in the Muntazah area.
“It isn’t much considering we have to take into account our transport costs and high rents. Besides people always have the choice to go to either the wholesale market or supermarkets or come to us,” he explained.
“People usually don’t bother much and consider the price difference as the cost of convenience,” he concluded.
I say that you shop around and DON'T buy from shops that over-charge!
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